Israel passes controversial “Jewish nation state” bill

Jul 19, 2018, 6:51 AM EDT
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the passage of the new law as a “defining moment.”
(Source: Алексей М/flickr)

Israel on Thursday passed a controversial law that defines the country as an exclusively Jewish state, a legislation critics fear would tear apart its democratic framework by reinforcing existing biases against its 1.8 million Palestinian citizens.

The law, adopted by 62 votes to 55, strips Arabic of its national language status and identifies “whole and united” Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, notes Al Jazeera. The Israeli Arab MPs condemned the bill, describing it as a tool for promoting “Jewish supremacy” through racist policies that resonate with “elements of apartheid.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the passage of the new law as a “defining moment,” writes the BBC. In a stormy session in the Knesset, the bill was watered down by dropping the provision that would have allowed the creation of Jewish-only communities.

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